In 1923, St Rose and St Catherine were designed by Gill and built by Maxwell and two of his brothers-in-law (Philip and Bernard Baker).
It seems the first occupants of St Rose were two ladies – Miss Mott and Miss Hinde – these may have been teachers at the Guild school. From 1924 until 1959 the cottage was occupied by Joseph Cribb and his family.
St. Catherine (now called Brambleside) was initially occupied by Rosa Waugh Hobhouse and her husband Stephen Hobhouse. Rosa was a Quaker Christian socialist, peace activist and author who married Stephen (also a Quaker) in 1915. Stephen helped Hilary Pepler set up the working men’s club in Hammersmith, Hampshire House, during which he had become friends of the Peplers and also of Edward Johnston and his wife, Greta. The friendship lasted, notwithstanding the move of the Johnstons and Peplers to Ditchling and Stephen being imprisoned during WW1 as a conscientious objector. In 1923 Pepler arranged for Rosa and Stephen to move rent-free into St Catherine’s where they lived for almost a year while Stephen earned thirty shillings a week as copy editor at the St Dominic’s press. In her unpublished memoirs, Rosa writes: “Among the members of the order was a builder and one of his thatched cottages was offered to us”. When they moved in, there was no stove in the kitchen and they had to do all their cooking on an open hearth.
Their brief tenancy came to an end in 1924 and Philip Hagreen moved in, soon to be replaced by David Pepler and his wife Betty who was Gill’s daughter. Many years later Hagreen recalled St Catherine’s as follows:
“The walls were bare brick, whitewashed and the floors downstairs tiled in red earthenware; the floors of the bedroom upstairs were of plain wooded boarding in which the boards had sunk to leave cracks wide enough to allow dust etc to fall into the rooms below. The roof was thatched and heating was by open fireplaces, the largest on the living room having its bread oven. The outside earth closet backed onto that of St Rose’.